Trophy hunting ‘like apartheid’ says campaigner amid fresh fears for import ban

Sep 12, 2023 | News

By Ben GlazeDeputy Political Editor – Daily Mirror

Adam Cruise, the acting chief executive of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, spoke out as peers prepare to debate plans to stop hunters bringing their “prizes” back to Britain.

A wildlife campaigner tonight controversially compares trophy hunting to apartheid as he urges peers to support a crackdown on imports of animal heads and carcasses.

Adam Cruise, the acting chief executive of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, made the provocative claim as he called on the House of Lords not to thwart a bid to stop hunters bringing home their sick souvenirs. He said the blood sport was dominated by white men who flew to mainly African countries to pursue their hobby on land owned by rich white people, while the pastime failed to benefit local black people.

South Africa-based Mr Cruise blasted the “falsehood that trophy hunting benefits communities through conservation”, insisting it “seems to carry on the same notion” of apartheid. “Far from benefiting the lives of indigenous people and rural communities, trophy hunting activities trap them in a never-ending cycle of impoverishment and social disenfranchisement reminiscent of the South African apartheid era,” he said.

“It’s a notion of a white elite making a lot of money owning private land at the expense of black minority groups. The only benefit that some people of colour are getting is they get employment. But the employment ratio is so small – a tiny proportion, it’s only a few trackers and skinners – the majority of the community don’t get any benefit from trophy hunting.”

He hit out at the justification for “allowing wealthy, foreign hunters the right to shoot endangered wildlife – and bring their trophy home – that the funds generated from the hunts are essential for the economic and social upliftment of indigenous people and rural communities”.

He said: “This worn-out narrative, which is a product of the immediate post-colonial era of the 1970s in Africa when white trophy hunters needed to gloss over the continuance of an outdated colonial practice, is a false one. This is not only because communities never benefit from the proceeds, but it forces them to remain in a perpetual cycle of impoverishment and social disenfranchisement.”

The Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill returns to the Lords on Tuesday for debate at committee stage. The legislation, led by Conservative backbench MP Henry Smith, would block hunting tourists importing animal skins, severed heads and carcasses to Britain after shoots abroad.But supporters fear opponents will try and torpedo the legislation as it progresses through the Lords this month. “There’s a whole suite of amendments that have been tabled and none of them are really helpful to the Bill, they are all wrecking amendments,” Mr Cruise said. “Peers need to vote the Bill through, as it stands, to the next stage. This is a Bill that has gone through the Commons and is watertight in so many respects.”

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